The ‘lost’ first edition of ‘The Training System’

While editions two to eleven of Stow’s ‘The Training System’ are still extant, it has always been assumed that the first edition has been lost. Stenhouse 1notes that the Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature gives the 1st Edition as 1836 but the Second Edition, ‘Moral Training Infant And Juvenile As Applicable To The Condition Of The Population Of Large Towns’ was published in 1834 so the Cambridge Bibliography is self-evidently incorrect. Alexander Morgan states that ‘the date of the first edition is doubtful, but the second edition was published in 1834. 2 This article argues that the book ‘Infant training: A dialogue explanatory of the system adopted in the model infants School, Glasgow by a director’ usually catalogued as the first edition of ‘Granny and Leezy’ is, in fact, the first edition of ‘The Training System’.

  1. No date is given for this edition. It is calculated from references to: ‘The formation of the Society seven years ago’ (1826+7=1833), page 4; ‘During the Spring of last year (1832)’, page 5; The Preface is dated ‘Glasgow, 31st August, 1833, page 18. To start with the obvious, therefore, the first two editions were probably published consecutively in 1833 and 1834.
  1. Equally obvious is the length of the two editions, with the second edition, at 237 pages, being longer than the first at 144 pages.
  1. The first edition is written by ‘A Director’. In the early years, Stow seldom put his name to articles, referring to himself as ‘a correspondent’; 3] ‘a friend to the ignorant’; 4‘S. D.’;5‘the secretary of the Infant School Society’; 6‘a gentleman of this city’; 7or Alpha Beta. 8
  1. All the committee members of the Glasgow Educational Society were also known as Directors. 9This suggests that the writer of ‘Infant Training’ thought of himself as directly associated with both the school and the Glasgow Educational Society.
  1. Chapters 4 and 5 of the second edition, known to be by Stow, – ‘Grandmothers’ First Visit to the Infant School – a Dialogue’ and ‘Grandmother’s Second Visit’ – are exactly the same as chapters 2 and 3 of the possible first edition.
  1. To regard ‘Granny and Leezy’as a separate publication misses Stow’s point. He initially intended to use the dramatic dialogue in the Glasgow vernacular to describe his ‘system’ to those with an immediate interest – i.e. the parents and friends of the infant school. It was only when ‘the system’ attracted a wider audience that he converted to standard English for the ‘Training System’, eventually publishing editions of ‘Granny and Leezy’ as a separate publication.
  1. ‘Granny and Leezy’ is repeated almost verbatim from the first edition to the second with the following exceptions:
  • Inexplicably, while almost all Scottish dialect terms are retained, for example kinkhost’ meaning whooping cough’ and ‘haveril’ meaning a simpleton someone who makes a fuss out of nothing, a few words are anglicised: ‘little’ for ‘wee’ and ‘mother’ for ‘mither’. These are both on the first page of the actual dialect. ‘Spectacles’ for ‘spentacles’, ‘wall nearest us’ for ‘wa’niest us’ and ‘no’ for ‘na’ near the beginning and suggest that the publisher wished to anglicise the book for wider publication and either gave up after the first few pages; or only knew these few terms.
  • A number of hymns and songs have been added or extended in the second edition, for example ‘Lesson on cleanliness’, ‘London is the capital of England’, ‘Thou Guardian of our earliest days’, ‘The Sheep’, ‘Pence Table, ‘The Dog’, ‘Infant School Song’ and ‘The Infant School’.
  • Some pedagogical discussions have been extended, for example an unexpected but correct response by the children to a question, or a response when they do not know the answer, as in the 2nd Edition, page 119. An extension of the exegesis of a sentence by the teacher is given in the footnotes of page 178 in the 2nd
  • There are some minor changes suggesting that the 2nd Edition is not a simple re-print of the first, for example the omission of ‘Sir’ occasionally in the children’s responses, the use of the word ‘ten’ instead of the numeral 10, the spelling of ‘connection’ rather than ‘connexion’, ‘Bible-flower’ replacing ‘flower’ and the occasional title.
  • In the second edition the term ‘girls’ replaces actual children’s names such as ‘Margaret’ and ‘Jane’.
  • A very different selction of Scripture questions is used on pages 108-110 1st Edition and on pages 187-190 2nd
  1. Far from the ‘First Edition’ being simply that of ‘Granny and Leezie’, it contains ample material related to the pedagogy and management of infant schools in general. The intention of the book is to extend the discussion about infant training and to exemplify the system currently operating in Glasgow.

Reference is made in the Preface:

  • To there being five schools in operation attended by about 700 children;
  • To the formation of the ‘Society seven years ago’: this would be the Glasgow Infant School Society in 1826;
  • The importance of observing the system in action is emphasized (the beginning of teacher training);
  • The need to train boys and girls together;
  • The necessity for ‘partial government endowment’;
  • The importance of some payment in order to value education
  • The necessity of suitable, enclosed, playgrounds;
  • The emphasis on Moral education in addition to intellectual;
  • The contaminating influence of the environment during the week compared with only two hours of Sabbath School;
  • The ‘sympathy of numbers’;
  • The limiting and limited role of parents;
  • The phrase ‘Prevention is better than cure’’
  • The central importance of religious education

Reference is made in the Appendix to:

  • The list of schools in operation in Glasgow
  • School plans
  • Raising funds for schools
  • The qualifications required of an infant school master
  • The moral machinery required for large towns
  • Rules and regulations for an infant school after the Glasgow model
  • Parents’ views (in letters)

There is therefore considerable similarity of subject matter with the following editions of ‘The Training System’ rather than the following editions of ‘Granny and Leezy’

  1. References are made to the need to ‘train’ children: page 10 (three references); page 11 (the importance of numbers of children rather than individuals); page 13 (three references)
  1. The peculiar machinery of the Infant system is described as follows:
  1. An enclosed play-ground in which the master or mistress, or both, exercise at constant superintendents at play, and where, each scholar finding a number of companions of his own particular age, the natural and therefore the true dispositions of every child fully developed, and exercise is afforded and health attended to.
  2. A gallery fitted to seek to the hall children, for the development of mental, moral, and social sympathy; where the eyes of all may more easily be fixed upon the master and upon the object or picture presented to their retention.
  3. Picture lessons of objects to arrest the wandering eye of the child, and, in unison with oral narrative, to inform his understanding. Without such accompaniments, viz, play-ground, gallery, and picture lessons, schools may be formed for the reception of Infants, arts, destitute of these, no child can be taught under what is termed the Infant system – which is simply taking man as we find him, and adapting education to compound nature, as moral, religious, physical, and rational beings.
  1. Although Stow comments ‘In the first instance I had little hope of this work being purchased by anyone and therefore gave away nearly the whole of the first edition’. (Preface to the Sixth Edition 1845), 800 copies were produced must have been printed.
  1. Notices of First Edition of this Work

Of the six notices concerning the First Edition of “this” work given in the second edition of “The Training System” the following from the ‘Scottish Guardian’ appears conclusive:

“To all our readers who are interested in the improvements of the rising generation – and who is that calls himself a Christian should not be interested – we recommend the perusal of this little volume, containing, in a dialogue, entitled “Grandmothers Visit to see Infant School,” an interesting exposition of the whole system.”

The Training System, second edition, end flyleaf

Furthermore, the following quote from the ‘Christian Instructor’ emphasizes a “system”  more reminiscent of “The Training System” than ‘Granny and Leezy;

“Much, however, as we have to congratulate ourselves on the great and beneficial change that has taken place on the old system of education, we have two congratulate ourselves yet more on the invention of a new system of education altogether – a system peculiar to the present age – a system invented for, and adapted to, and most numerous class of the human race – overlooked by every other system from the beginning of the world to the present day, — I mean the system of Infant Training in Infant Schools.”

The Training System, second edition, end flyleaf.

[1]          Lawrence Stenhouse, Lawrence Hartvig Nissen. (1961) ‘Impressions of the Scottish Educational System in the Mid-Nineteenth Century’ in British Journal of Educational Studies, Vol. 9, No. 2 (May, 1961), pp. 143-154.

[2]          Morgan, A. (1929). The makers of Scottish history. London: Longmans, Green and Co., page 180.

[3]          The Glasgow Herald – May 26th 1828.

[4]       Extracted From Dr. Cleland’s Statistical Work. (1831) (2nd  ed.).

[5]       Glasgow Herald, 18th January 1828: ‘Wanted: for An Infant School’.

[6        Glasgow Herald, 26th May, 1828.

[7]          GES Third Report, List of Office Bearers.

[8] The Scotsman, 15th October, 1828: Attack on secular infant schools.

[9]        Glasgow Herald, 21st May, 1835: Examination of the Educational Society’s Model Infant School; The Scottish Guardian, 2nd November, 1837: Report of the opening of the Normal Seminary.